Christmas traditions: Food, family, fun
Dec08

Christmas traditions: Food, family, fun

It’s the time of year when Christmas music is inescapable, pine is in the air, and carolers are as far as the eye can see. But despite these ubiquitous traditions, holiday customs differ from place to place and family to family. In big cities like New York and Chicago, Christmas might include a visit to a stories-high, brightly-colored Christmas tree or ice skating in the center of town, while people in smaller towns might enjoy parades or tree-lightings. But, for some, family plays a bigger role in how the holidays are celebrated. Senior Christian studies major, Taylor Irby, spends the Christmas season celebrating her family’s German heritage. “We do something called the pickle tradition, and whoever finds [the pickle ornament] gets a special present and some cash,” she said. Irby’s family tradition comes from an old German custom where parents hung a pickle ornament deep inside the Christmas tree. Whoever found the ornament on Christmas Eve received an extra gift from St. Nick. The Christian studies major said the hunt for the pickle can become an intense competition. “The poor tree and ornaments have no chance,” Irby said. “We even knocked the tree over once.” While Irby and her family draw on their cultural background during their holiday traditions, others, like Shelby Halloran focus on food and family togetherness. “On Christmas Eve we put out a spread, which is an assortment of food, like crackers and cheese, summer sausage, pigs and the blanket, and other wonderful things,” she said. After they’re finished filling up on cheese and crackers, Halloran and her siblings are allowed to open one present. “This is usually done before we go to the Christmas Eve service at 11 p.m. where we spend time in worship,” Halloran said. “The service ends at midnight with everyone singing ‘Silent Night.’” Focusing on Christ during the holidays is also an important aspect of junior nursing major, Stacie Garza’s Christmas celebration. “[My family and I] drive down to Victoria, TX where we enjoy the company of extended family, share the story of Christ, and attend a service at a local church, where one of my uncles works as a preacher,” Garza said. Traveling to be with family is also a tradition for senior exercise physiology major, Morgan Tongish. “We go to my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve, and that night we will all make cookies and listen to Elvis Presley records together,” she said. “And, even though I am currently the youngest, every grandchild still has a stocking hanging up.” That night, each stocking is filled with gifts and treats. On Christmas morning, Tongish and her family will see what...

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Action, adventure meets the screen
Nov19

Action, adventure meets the screen

It’s the most wonderful time of the year–a time when holiday blockbusters begin to make an appearance. This year’s movies are sure to be classics, so pack up your family, head to the nearest movie theater and make some unforgettable memories. Spectre, PG-13 Has Bond finally met his match? 007 has always been a fascinating, mysterious character. This generation’s Bond, Daniel Craig, has definitely portrayed this role well. The film opens in a classic 007 style–a beautiful city during an event, a shady character, and Bond who, of course, has a stunning woman in his arms. Then you see the shady character leave the big event and Bond follows. Next thing you know Bond is eavesdropping on the villains’ conversation. Something happens that gives Bond away. Then, BANG! There’s an explosion that hints at the identity of the main antagonist. From there the film leads into the opening credits, along with the new James Bond song, “Writings on the Wall,” which is performed by the very talented English singer, Sam Smith, who doesn’t disappoint. The song fits perfectly with the theme and the story of this 007 movie. The opening credits for Spectre are definitely one of the best parts of this movie. This wasn’t like any other movie that just puts the title of the movie and the big actors name in it. These opening credits are a masterpiece –a movie of their own. It gives you an idea of how the movie will be portrayed. The antagonist of this film is different from the others. In this film you learn that the villain has been watching Bond since childhood. It takes Bond a while to realize who this foe is. This movie is filled with so many twists and turns, and sheds some light on who James Bond is. And if this is Daniel Craig’s last time as the legendary 007, he went out with a bang. The movie once again proves that James Bond is the best spy around, and his movies are some of the best around. Mockingjay Part II (trailer review), PG-13 Tell me where the sign up list is to help District 13 overthrow President Snow. As a huge fan of both the books and the films, I am sad to see that the series is coming to an end. But at the same time I am really excited to see how they will conclude this series. This trailer had me captivated from the beginning to the end. Katniss, who is portrayed by Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence, gives a motivational speech that will make fans feel like they can take on the world....

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Black’s film gives audiences ‘Goosebumps’
Oct29

Black’s film gives audiences ‘Goosebumps’

Remember that time in your life when reading one of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps would keep you up all night? Well get ready to have Stine-induced insomnia because his world-renowned books have come to life on the big screen. Gee, thanks, Rob Lettermen for giving life to the books that gave children everywhere nightmares. But the movie actually isn’t that scary. It’s much like the movie Hocus Pocus. They both are the same type of movie – a children’s scary/horror film. Even though Goosebumps is technically classified as an action fantasy movie and Hocus Pocus is a fantasy movie, the two movies both have similar features. Jack Black portrays R.L. Stine in the PG-rated film, and brings his signature style to this fun horror film. Black is best known for films like School of Rock (2003), Nacho Libre (2006), and the Kung Fu Panda series. With Black’s comedic timing and stellar acting from other cast members, this movie doesn’t disappoint. It is well on its way to becoming a Halloween classic. Stine’s books were known for many creepy, scary things. So, what all made the cut? Well there are clowns, werewolves, haunted cars, invisible children, evil gnomes, giant bugs and so much more. But one of Stine’s monsters plays a role as a main character in the film, and he doesn’t like to be called Dummy. The film begins with a newly single mom and her high school aged son, Zach Cooper (portrayed by Dylan Minnette) moving into town. Like in most scary movies, the main character sees a girl next door, Hannah (portrayed by Odeya Rush), who catches his attention. Then her dad, R.L. Stine, gives the boy a warning to stay away. Of course, the boy chooses to ignore the father’s warning, which leads to the freeing of terrible monsters. Also, the movie features the typical character who is fun, loveable, and goofy, played by the Texas actor Ryan Lee, whose last lead role was in Steven Spielberg’s 2012 film Super 8. Lee’s character’s name is Champion, but he is more of the town klutz. He immediately becomes friends with Zach. Of course, he thinks this is going to be a normal friendship, but instead leads to a wild night of hunting monsters. By the end of the film, the chump becomes a champ. Overall, this is a wonderful film. It makes you feel like a child all over again, with references to the books and even including the author of the books, R.L. Stine. In an interview on the morning talk show LIVE with Kelly and Michael, Black stated, “R.L. Stine is nothing like the way I...

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International students adjust to new culture
Oct29

International students adjust to new culture

The international student population at UMHB is at an all-time high. Currently, international students make up around 10 percent of the student body, with the majority of these students enrolled in graduate studies. Many of these students are from India or China. Junior Computer Information Systems major, Bei Lui, is one of these students. She is from Beijing, China and has enjoyed assimilating to Texas culture. “My favorite thing has been the Texas barbecue, especially from Texas Roadhouse,” Lui said. But despite her love of all things Texas, it can be difficult learning new customs and culture. Lui said UMHB International Student Services has made the transition much easier. “They are very helpful with everything that allows me to stay here,” she said. “They also answer any questions I may ask.” The International Services office works one-on-one with International students in nearly every way possible. They act as academic advisors for the international students, and make time each semester to work with graduating international students. “If a student wants a driver’s license, wants to move off campus, or find a job, we help them look for one. We help them with anything they may need as long as it is within their student visa,” said Dr. Elizabeth Tanaka, director of International Student Services. “Also, for the first few weeks we have a couple of vans that run to the store and other places so they can get adjusted.” While international students are attending UMHB, many of them find employment on campus. Shortly after arriving here, Lui became a student worker in the Mayborn Campus Center. Even though she has only worked there for a short time, she has already made an impact on the students she works with. “I like working with Bei because she is fun to talk to which helps the shifts pass by,” said junior history major, Kelsey Riegel. “But I like Bei because she is sassy, goofy and Bei is Bei.” Communicating and relating to other students helps international students assimilate to US college life, and want to come back year-after-year. International students have come to love UMHB so much that the population has grown considerably over the years. “We have had as little as 12 [International] students and it has been as high as 400 [International] students at one time,” Tanaka said. Other than speaking with other internationals who have attended UMHB before, one of the most effective ways to communicate with an International student has been the university’s website. “The website is very International friendly,” Tanaka said. “They stay away from words that may seem common here in United States. Instead of saying...

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Intramurals give students athletic glory

Campus Recreation is a major part of college life, especially here at UMHB. Through the Campus Rec office, students and faculty have access to four outdoor basketball courts, four tennis courts, and three sand volleyball courts, which are all located at the outdoor recreation courts, behind McLane Hall. Campus Rec even provides students and faculty with the equipment they need for a variety of outdoor activities. Some of the items that can be rented are basketballs, volleyballs, tennis balls and rackets, and hammocks. Other activities, clubs and teams that fall under the Campus Rec category are Intramurals, Sader Belles, Cru Cheer and all of the Cru Fit classes. Director of Campus Recreation, Sue Weaver, has been in charge of campus recreation for the past 10 years, and she can’t imagine doing anything else. “Every semester is different. I get to plan events, work flexible hours and I get to work with the students.” Weaver said. One of Weavers favorite aspects of her job is overseeing the various intramural sports. Intramurals have become one of the biggest activities here on campus, and are open to the entire student population. Currently the Flag Football and the Sand Volleyball leagues are in season, but there is still more to come for the fall semester. Upcoming intramural opportunities include 7-on-7 CoRec Soccer and 6-on-6 Volleyball. The Campus Rec director said anyone interested in one of these fall leagues should visit the Campus Rec website at students.umhb.edu/rec/ and click on the IMLeague link. If students don’t have time to join a team this semester, there will be plenty of intramural opportunities in the spring. “In January a new Cru Fit schedule will be released and towards the end of January all of our basketball leagues will begin which are Men’s 5-on-5, which is full court, and then half court is Women’s 3-on-3 and Men’s 3-on-3” Weaver said. “Toward the end of the [spring] semester we will also start our softball league and we will be teaming up with Student Life to put on Play Day.” There is something for everyone when it comes to Campus Rec activites. Sophomore Pre Physical Therapy major, Taylor Rose, who has participated in Flag Football and 3 on 3 Women’s Basketball, said she enjoys the time spent with friends on the field and the court. “Intramurals are a great way to relieve stress. Plus it also gives me a chance to be competitive.” Senior Graphic Design Major Elizabeth Motely, who has played 3-on-3 Women’s Basketball and Sand Volleyball, said campus rec activities give her the chance to play the sports she loves. “I think I can speak for all...

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